The author of The Tipping Point returns with the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard to examine one the evolution and use of precision bombing in warfare.
The Bomber Mafia is an innovative audio book with music, sound effects and archival clips as well as a paperback. Gladwell’s easy conversational style works well in both formats, and his admiration for the Bomber Mafia shines through. His portraits of individuals are compelling ... Sometimes, however, his descriptions lack nuance ... Gladwell does not explore how racial attitudes influenced the bombing of Japan ... Gladwell does however confront us with difficult questions ... In so doing he has produced a thought-provoking, accessible account of how people respond to difficult choices in difficult times.
A kind of love song to the United States Air Force, which is surprising, because it is the least romantic of our armed services, with leaders who focus on technology, not tradition ... One of Gladwell’s skills is enabling us to see the world through the eyes of his subjects. To most people, a city park is a grace note, a green space that makes urban life more livable ... A novelty of this book is that Gladwell says it began as an audiobook and then became a written one, reversing the usual process ... Gladwell is a wonderful storyteller.
... [an] intriguing but insubstantial little book ... The Bomber Mafia reminds me of a really good podcast—a fascinating story is appealingly delivered ... While I admire brevity, the subject demands more depth than this volume provides. Gladwell simplifies the evolution of bombing strategy into a clash of personalities ... Personalities were indeed important (they always are) but this approach does not give sufficient attention to the larger forces at work, in particular how morality adapted to ever more destructive technology ... Readers new to this subject will find The Bomber Mafia engaging but those who’ve read a book or two about the air campaign will find it naive and shallow.